Expert Series: How This Common Question Leads Most People to Buy the Wrong Mattress

Mike Magnuson

By Michael Magnuson, Founder/CEO,

We can all relate to that moment when the pain or discomfort caused by our mattress becomes too much — and we finally acknowledge, begrudgingly perhaps, that it’s time for a new one.

Since we don’t buy mattresses very often, we don’t have a familiar routine for how to shop for one. Instead, we fall back on a common tactic we use in buying other products: searching for “the best” one. Some might accomplish this by polling their friends and family, while others turn to Google to ask this question directly: “What’s the best mattress?”

For most products, this approach works. That’s because most products perform exactly the same for you as they do for me. For example, a given washing machine will clean your clothes just as quickly, quietly and effectively as it does mine.

Here’s the rub: The #1 thing most mattress shoppers don’t know is that mattresses are highly personal. Think of them more like pants. Mattress fit depends on numerous factors like your weight, body shape, sleep position, comfort preferences and more. So, just like any particular pair of pants, a given mattress will be a great choice for some people, but a poor choice for most people.

Understanding this — the personal, individualized nature of mattresses — is critical to avoiding the biggest mattress shopping pitfalls. For example, when a person buys a mattress based on a recommendation from her friend, she is frequently disappointed to find that this same mattress doesn’t work nearly as well for her own needs and preferences. Likewise, the countless listicles declaring the “best mattress of 2019” or “best mattress for back pain” make no more sense than ranking the “best pants.”

Knowing to be wary of “best mattress” lists also empowers you to spot the single greatest pitfall for mattress shoppers today: questionable mattress review sites. So-called mattress experts ranking the “best mattresses” can design such lists to get you to buy their “top-rated” mattresses. These lists invariably contain affiliate links, which earn that site a percentage of each sale they generate. So when you see a mattress brand at the top of many rankings, all it means is that brand makes those websites the most money.

Consumers also need to be warned that a growing number of mattress review websites are discreetly owned or backed by one of the brands they review. Naturally, this makes it difficult, if not impossible, for any of their reviews to be unbiased — though it doesn’t stop them from making this claim. In fact, disclosure of these corporate ties tends to be very difficult to find, if it is even published at all. Making matters worse, search engines seem to be asleep at the wheel (so to speak) so these brand-backed review sites often appear near the top of search results — leading unsuspecting consumers directly to them.

So, how can a savvy consumer make the right choice when shopping for a mattress? The key to success is that the question you should be asking is not “what’s the best mattress?” — but rather, “what’s the best mattress for me?”

According to, an independent and personalized mattress matching service that helps consumers find and buy the right mattress, start by assessing your personal requirements, particularly with regard to Fit, Feel and Features (“the three F’s”). This translates into a set of characteristics that your ideal mattress should have. Then, search across brands and stores to find options within your price range that best match these characteristics. In making your final choice, compare prices and discounts to make sure you’re getting the best possible deal on that mattress.

Sound complicated? helps you do all of that quickly and easily with a proprietary mattress matching quiz, unbiased consumer reviews, in-depth expert product assessments, curated online discounts, and exclusive cashback offers for shopping at trusted local stores.

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